Friday, July 28, 2006

Davis County Clipper: Antelope Island Causeway speed limit under study

ANTELOPE ISLAND— The state park manager, here, Ron Taylor, would like motorists to slow down and “smell the roses,” so to speak — not only at the park, but on the 7.2-mile causeway connecting the island with the mainland. Some motorists, on the other hand, might want to see the current speed limit of 40 MPH increased, a bit. That’s one of the reasons a study was authorized by the Davis County Commission, Tuesday. J-U-B of Kaysville will complete the $7,000 contract.

“There are two things we want to accomplish,” said County Public Works director Tom Smith. “We want to establish what the speed limit should be and make sure we’ve got the right signage and that they’re properly placed” to meet national guidelines.

Signage denoting such conditions as a curve, no parking or speed limits needs to be checked for height and placement, he said.

“Basically, speed limits are set by the 85th percentile,” Smith said. “That means 85 percent of the people who travel that roadway will travel at or below that speed.”

The causeway is owned and maintained by the county commission, which rebuilt it after the 1983 floods.

“The commission can use that (study findings) to set the speed limit or they can set it anywhere they want,” he said.

“There have not been any complaints,” on the current speed limit, Smith said.

“Ron Taylor said he’d like to keep it slower so people have a chance to see what’s along the roadway,” he said.

However, if motorists judge the posted speed as too slow, exceed it, and then are cited with a speeding ticket, “it can create a problem,” Smith said.

The causeway is not very wide, in some places, and no parking zones exist along much of the roadway’s length. It could cause a bottleneck or even safety hazard if people are following too closely.

“It wouldn’t save people that much time,” even if the speed limit were increased, Smith added.

The study is due to be started within the next couple of weeks.

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